Friday, May 30, 2014

Eleven Eleven by Paul Dowswell


Set during the final 24 hours before the armistice at 11 a.m. on 11th November 1918, the story follows a German storm trooper, an American airman and a British Tommy. Their destinies converge during the death throes of the first ever conflict to spread across the globe. War becomes incredibly personal as nationality and geography cease to matter to each of these teenagers on the Western Front, and friendship becomes the defining aspect of their encounter. But who will live and who will die before the end of the day? A thrilling story of the last 24 hours before armistice. Three lives collide and three destinies are determined during one single day in this powerful and timeless novel


The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. A day of great joy and of greater sorrow and waste of life. Dowswell takes the reader on a chaotic journey through the final hours of World War II. Not in a grandiose newsreel way but from the point of view of individual characters who symbolize the thousands of men and women who continued to fight and die up to the eleventh hour and beyond.

Dowswell uses the viewpoints of various segments of the war machine to give the reader a taste of both Allied and German perspectives. On a deeper level the reader experiences the muck, rats and lice of the terrified but valiant ‘poor bloody infantry’, as well as the courageous and glory seeking fly boys in their gossamer winged planes high above the field of battle. Until the canvas frames are strafed and descend from the heavens amidst fire and blood. 

Eleven Eleven is a well written gritty story which offers no apologies for the starkness of its content. Beneath the death and ugliness of the war machine the author does not fail to reveal the human side of the war. In death and in life, we are all human beings of the same race.

Dowswell’s varied cast of characters come to life and leap off the page to draw the reader into their story.   

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